21 (2008) – Ben Campbell is a young, highly intelligent, student at M.I.T. in Boston who strives to succeed. Wanting a scholarship to transfer to Harvard School of Medicine with the desire to become a doctor, Ben learns that he cannot afford the $300,000 for the four to five years of schooling as he comes from a poor, working-class background. But one evening, Ben is introduced by his unorthodox math professor Micky Rosa into a small but secretive club of five. Students Jill, Choi, Kianna, and Fisher, who are being trained by Professor Rosa of the skill of card counting at blackjack.

Director: Robert Luketic: Other films: Legally Blonde (2001), Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003), Monster-in-Law (2005), The Ugly Truth (2009), 21 Jump Street (2012), The Wedding Ringer (2015)

Writer: Peter Steinfeld, Allan Loeb: Other films: The Pink Panther (2006), Failure to Launch (2006), The Ugly Truth (2009), Just Go with It (2011), The Switch (2010)

Release Date: March 28, 2008

Domestic Box Office: $81.2 million

21 (2008)

The Good:

  • The acting is top-notch, with Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, and Kate Bosworth all giving great performances.
  • The story is engaging and suspenseful, and it does a good job of following the real-life events that inspired it.
  • The film is visually stunning, with some great casino scenes and a stylish look overall.

The Bad:

  • The film is a bit formulaic at times, and it doesn’t always break new ground.
  • The ending is a bit anticlimactic, and it doesn’t quite live up to the rest of the film.

Top 5 Cast:

  • Jim Sturgess as Ben Campbell
  • Kevin Spacey as Mickey Rosa
  • Kate Bosworth as Jill Taylor
  • Laurence Fishburne as Cole Williams
  • Liza Lapira as Kimmie Jones

“The house always wins.” – Mickey Rosa


  • “A slick and entertaining caper movie that’s also surprisingly smart.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
  • “A fast-paced and stylish thriller that’s sure to please fans of the genre.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
  • “A well-made and engaging film that’s both entertaining and informative.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Tribune
  • “A bit of a mixed bag, but ultimately a fun and enjoyable film.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
  • “A slick and superficial take on a fascinating true story.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Cinematic Importance:

  • 21 is a significant film in the history of gambling movies. It was one of the first films to accurately depict the use of card counting in blackjack, and it helped to popularize the practice among amateur gamblers.
  • The film also helped to raise awareness of the MIT Blackjack Team, a group of students who used card counting to win millions of dollars from casinos.
  • 21 is a well-made and entertaining film that is sure to please fans of the gambling genre. It is also a historically significant film that helped to change the way that people think about blackjack.

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